Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dennis Ross talks Iran, Israel with AIPAC

"... Dennis Ross, Obama's Special Assistant and NSC Senior Director on the Central Region (Near East/South Asia), spoke about the administration's Iran policy before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee national summit in Hollywood Florida Monday, .......Ross used the last few minutes of his remarks to discuss Israel and the Middle East peace efforts with which he is increasingly engaged, and to vigorously defend what he called the Obama administration's unprecedented level of security cooperaton with Israel.... "Frankly, this degree of coordination is unprecedented," Ross said of current U.S.-Israeli security coordination. "I have participated in these types of discussions for the last 30 years, and they have never been as intense or focused, reflecting the serious cooperation that we have today with Israel." ...
The first step in this process was making an unmistakable offer of engagement to the Iranians to show their government ...... Iran’s own behavior over the past two years, however, has demonstrated that it prefers defiance and secrecy to transparency and peace.... And in the Middle East, Iran continues to rely on tactics of intimidation and coercion to gain influence, a pattern clearly on display during President Ahmadinejad’s provocative recent visit to Lebanon and through Iran’s ongoing support for Hizballah....  And of course, with strong encouragement from AIPAC, Congress amplified all of these measures by passing the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, ..... The point here is that the pressure on Iran only continues to grow..... Sanctions, like engagement, were always intended as a tool, not as an end to themselves. ...... should Iran continue its defiance, despite its growing isolation and the damage to its economy, its leaders should listen carefully to President Obama who has said many times, “we are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”....."

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